A Long Island woman is suing the town of Brookhaven, claiming it violated her constitutional rights when it boarded up her home while her family was away.
Celia Durao said her 76-year-old father had been living in her Farmingville home last October but was away in Portugal when town crews moved in and boarded it up, declaring it open, vacant and unsecured.
No one was more surprised than Durao.
"I had an appointment to see a plumber and ran into it like that," she said. "It's very unfair because they didn't notify me of any issues or anything."
"I was stunned."
Durao has filed a federal lawsuit against Brookhaven.
"This is very arrogant, an abuse of authority," said Durao's lawyer, Richard Scheyer. "They went into someone's private home, walked through it, boarded it up and never told anyone about it."
Brookhaven officials wouldn't comment on camera to News 4, but the town sent photos that officials say show a home that was unoccupied, with the front door ajar.
Two neighbors echoed the same claim, saying it had been three or four years since they last saw someone live there.
Brookhaven has been aggressive in attacking the problem of abandoned homes, citing safety concerns.
On Tuesday, News 4 found evidence that squatters may now be inside the Durao home but Celia Durao insists her home is no danger.
"It's maintained by my father and us," she said. "There's nothing wrong with the house."